The Best Attraction

Apr 12, 2023

There have always been several compelling reasons to visit Wyoming. Yellowstone Park, Devils Tower and the Grand Tetons are but a few.

Now Wyoming has a new attraction. Only, you won’t find this one on the Travel Channel. It’s designed for Wyoming residents, not tourists.

Led by Commissioner Jeffrey Rude, Wyoming’s Department of Insurance recently adopted a new rule that incorporates the enhanced consumer protections in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) updated model regulation on annuity transactions. This is great news for the state’s nearly 600,000 residents. 

The rule enhances the standards financial professionals must follow while ensuring that individual savers maintain access to, and information about, annuities, the only financial product in the marketplace that can provide guaranteed income for life. Thanks to this new consumer protection rule, all Wyoming residents will be in a strong position to achieve financial security and prosperity through retirement.

Wyoming joins a growing list of states to adopt similar laws or rules. Residents in more than 2/3rds of the United States now benefit from a best interest standard of care. Building on this momentum, several more states are considering comparable measures to protect their residents.

The actions in the states closely align with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest. And, unlike a fiduciary-only approach, these measures ensure savers, particularly financially vulnerable lower- and middle-income Americans, can access information about different choices for long-term security through retirement. According to a recent study, a fiduciary-only approach would curtail access to financial inclusion for 10 million households. Another survey finds that middle-income retirement savers would be very concerned about a regulation that keeps them from working with a financial professional on their retirement security needs.

With these enhanced state and federal consumer protections, savers can rest assured that financial professionals must act in the consumer’s best interest when offering recommendations about annuities. These protections safeguard consumers while also making certain that middle- and working-class families will retain access to financial information. The U.S. Congress reaffirmed the importance of lifetime income when it passed legislation in 2019 and 2022 to make it easier for employers to include annuities in workplace retirement plans and simpler for savers and retirees to utilize annuities that fit their needs. 

More states should adopt this practical consumer protection. Then more Americans looking to protect their family’s financial future would benefit from a best interest standard of care, wherever they call home.

Vince Ryan

Vince Ryan is Regional Vice President, State Relations at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). He is responsible for state legislative and regulatory affairs in Delaware, New Jersey, Iowa, South Dakota and Wyoming. He joined the ACLI in 2019 from the Delaware Insurance Department.

Andrea C. Robinson

NAIFA-Wyoming President Andrea C. Robinson is from Sundance, Wyo.